Excerpt: 'Lighten Up' By Peter Walsh


strong but confront an inner turmoil daily about how to rebalance your life now that things aren't what they used to be? Do fears about the future and of "not having enough" keep you up at night? Are you physically tough but mentally weak and drained from relentless thoughts about your financial situation—and the fact that you're struggling to define yourself and your life in a way that makes sense anymore? We all measure our happiness in different ways. Many of the people I work with find it hard to distinguish happiness from getting more stuff. For these people, better is measured by more and their possessions have become the measure of their well-being. Chasing more and having more has come to mean that I'll somehow be more; that if I just buy the right things I can somehow acquire the life I want and will then—of course—be happy. It's a common theory. And a great recipe for disaster!

It almost always takes a crisis for people to make big changes in their lives. I hear from families all the time that their loved ones— parents, spouse, friends—are wrecking their lives with clutter, that it just can't go on like this anymore. The stuff they own has damaged the happiness they want. Well, we've reached the same kind of crisis with money. Even though it may fly in the face of what we've been conditioned to believe, owning more or the pursuit of more simply is not better, for ourselves, our families, our communities, or our planet. Worse still, the "more" that we chase might just be the single biggest reason that happiness escapes us. We need to reframe our attitudes toward our stuff and our happiness. We need to rethink how we spend money and what's truly important if we want to improve the quality of our lives and the future of our families.

This very well may be the most important book I've written. Unlike my previous works, from It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, which focused on physical clutter, to Enough Already!: Clear the Emotional and Mental Clutter to Create the Life You Want, which dealt with damaging mental and emotional clutter, this book comes at a time when people need to hear a clear and unambiguous message the most. It comes when tens of millions are wrestling with serious financial problems that invade every

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